May 11, 2022
Life Skills for Business - Organization
"For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned." – Benjamin Franklin
To begin any story or blog, I create a general outline. Some are more detailed than others. I know an author whose outlines are over 160 pages. All he does, basically, is fill in the blanks when he's ready to write the actual story. I don't go to quite that extreme, but I know in what direction to go with the story. I may change its direction slightly as I go along, adjusting for problems or new scenes I want included, but the foundation is there.
That's part of being organized. I have steps set before I begin. In writing, there are two terms for authors. Pantser and plotter. I'm a plotter. The other type has a basic idea and just starts writing, letting the story go where it wants. I find that doesn't work for me. It's like feeling your way through a cavern system without a flashlight.
Can you imagine doing that with a company? Decide to open a store or provide a service without any plans, just put out the word you're in business. How long will you last? Will you even get off the ground? The answer is pretty obvious. I'm not saying writers who use the pantsing method always fail, but I haven't seen too many who finish a story. Why? No direction and no ending point. How do they know when to stop? What if problems come up? How are they resolved? Painting yourself into a corner is an apt cliché.
Businesses need organization and not just at the beginning. The life skill will be practiced continuously.
At Skynova ten strategies about organization are discussed. I thought four pertained to this post, and some can be referenced in a later section.
Planning – This is what I mentioned above. I plan out each story, leaving room for changes.
If you don't plan your business strategy, how will you know what to sell, how much to sell, the price, how to market? You won't know upfront costs or investments. You'll be starting 'blind.' Planning is a necessary first step and again, one that will be continued as your business gets going.
Multitasking – I have mentioned this in other posts, but this is not possible. I can't switch from one story to another too often or I lose focus on all of them. I write on one for a while then move to another if there's a problem to work out.
If you're constantly going between projects, something will be neglected, and it will take longer to complete any one thing.
I like the advice given. Plan (as from above) to spend a decent amount of time at one assignment. You may not complete it today or by next week, but you can find a logical point before you move to something else.
Bookkeeping – Without proper books, your finances will be a mess. You'll have no idea of expenses, who still owes you, or what more you may have to spend…until that time comes and you're scrambling.
For my writing, I keep track of sales and event fees. I also look at this as keeping the story organized throughout the writing. This means proper notes, scene/ chapter divisions, realistic timeline. I remember an action-packed book I read where the majority of the story took place in an entire day. I wondered when the characters took time to eat or, you know, do necessary business.
Feedback – I found this an interesting point. Customers are able to spot disorganization in a business. Don't you recognize the signs? Messy aisles or shelves. Shabby appearance inside and out. Employees unable to assist or trying to multitask.
Asking for feedback through reviews or surveys may provide insight where more organization is needed.
Feedback I receive comes in reviews from readers and from members of my critique groups. What works and doesn't work in the scene I read. Sure, I appreciate any praise, but tell me where I need to improve the writing. That helps me learn and to be better the next time.
I found one particular point at US Aura very interesting. It relates, in part, to multitasking, but in an organized manner. Batching. Group small, possibly related, projects and finish them before moving onto a bigger task. This is part of the planning and brings in the idea of time management.
While this may work for other businesses, I can't do this with my writing. I thought of the editing phase. I can't read through and try to catch grammar/spelling/punctuation errors, assess dialogue, look at character development, and study action scenes all at once. I'd miss something. That's the multitasking fallibility mentioned earlier. None of the aspect I mentioned about a story is a 'little thing.' I have to go through and look at one, then again for another, and so on. Yes, it means several read-throughs, but it makes for a better-quality story.
Just say no! An article at Due recommends this. It may take a moment to analyze. Why not do everything asked of you? Change this, go there, do this, process that…see the problem? You've agreed to everything and soon everything is disorganized.
Relate this to planning and multitasking. You don't plan on bouncing around like a pinball. Look at what works for you and reject those areas that don't. People should appreciate you and your time.
I don't accept every critique given. I take copious notes but keep them until I'm ready for the rewrites. Then, I'll review them to see what works. If they're valid, I'll rework the scene.
I remember a writer who read chapter one of a story, went home, and rewrote the chapter based on critiques given, then reread it the next week…then reworked it again. The group never heard the second chapter or anymore of his story. He hadn't learned to say no and move on.
Neil Patel has sixteen pointers for staying organized. I chose three to look at.
Storage – Yes, my closets at home are not organized. Space is limited, so I cram a lot of stuff into small areas.
You can't do that at your business for two obvious reasons. 1. You won't know where certain items are located. 2. How will you know what to dispose of after so long a time that you don't need?
I keep stories organized by using one of the many writing programs available, Scrivener. Every chapter is separated, and there are places for images, character profiles, notes, and much more. That way everything isn't stuffed into a manila folder.
Invoices – Ever forget to pay a bill? You don't want that phone call from a 'concerned' supplier. Large businesses may have an entire accounting department to handle this. At small companies, this responsibility falls on one person, maybe the owner, who has a dozen other concerns.
Since I sell my books through a publisher, I don't worry about regular payments. Statements and royalties come at specific times during the year.
Scheduling – This is another aspect of planning and time management. Meetings, appointments…and time off to relax and refresh.
My writing schedule isn't complicated. I do have to watch for author events and if they fit with other scheduled activities. Usually, everything works out.
Industry Highlight and CMMS
What industry would benefit from how a CMMS helps with organization. Several came to mind, but let's focus on oil/gas refineries. Think of this type of operation. Wells, rigs, pipelines, tanker trucks/trailers and a lot of equipment and employees to manage. Maintenance is ongoing. Let's explore the benefits of a CMMS.
Planning - This is what's needed if you're considering a CMMS. What are you wanting from it? Obviously better maintenance control, but on what equipment? Do you have multiple sites? What assets do you have at each location? By making a plan, you'll be better organized to implement the information.
Bookkeeping – A quality CMMS will generate reports to your specifications, collating the data you want.
Feedback – How are your coworkers adapting to the CMMS? Do they need training or have questions? Will the CMMS company have training sessions available, and can they provide expert answers?
Batching – Can your CMMS help you create what some might term Blanket Purchase Orders? An oil refinery uses a lot of tools and parts, many of them purchased often from the same vendor(s). How about creating a list of those items by vendor? Then, convert those to actual purchase orders? Save time, be more efficient.
No! – With a CMMS you, as admin, have the authority to reject purchase or work requests. You know what needs to be done and what should be bought.
Storage – Find the parts/tools because you've inputted the location to the exact spot. You know what building/aisle/shelf/bin everything is in.
Invoices – With a CMMS, you track and reconcile invoices on those purchases. Or, with a bit of extra investment of time and money, have them sent to your company's accounting system.
Scheduling – As mentioned maintenance at a refinery will be routine and ongoing. With a CMMS, you'll be able to schedule work orders, so those preventive maintenance work orders (PMs) are done when needed.
Organization is vital for any business, large or small. Without operational order, no one is sure what's going on or what to do. No organization only spells downfall.
If you need more organization from a CMMS, call Mapcon at 800-922-4336.